The Canyon County Animal Shelter found homes for more than 2,082 animals during a three-month adoption contest from August to October, topping all but one of the 49 other competing shelters by nearly doubling its year-to-year adoptions for those months, according to results announced Friday morning.
The local shelter took second place in the 2012 ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge. The City of San Antonio Animal Care Services took first place. A total of 56,232 pets were adopted nationwide during the challenge.
Canyon County Animal Shelter won a $25,000 grant for its second-place finish. It also won $20,000 for topping the West region and $5,000 for increasing lives saved by more than 300. Additionally, they won two $1,000 awards for submitted photos by those who adopted animals during the contest, and $5,000 for getting out to a fast start in August. So the shelter won a grand total of $57,000 during the contest.
Shelter Director Barbara Hutchinson said the shelter was able to increase adoptions through the support of many in the community, including businesses such as PEAK Broadcasting and Zamzows. Both donated radio advertising spots for adoption events. KIDO radio show host Kevin Miller broadcast from the shelter during the last week of the challenge.
"It was huge," Hutchinson said. "Marketing is so important. That's really important."
The public is invited to a celebration for shelter staff, volunteers and the community 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Friday at the United Church of Christ, 55 S. Midland Boulevard in Nampa. The party will be in the community room.
What will the shelter do with the extra cash? Hutchinson told the Idaho Statesman the shelter needs to improve accommodations for cats.
"We want to do some cat rooms and things," she said. "We've got terrible cages for the cats. They're really small. We just don't have a good setup for cats."
Hutchinson said some of the money the shelter won would go into marketing for future adoptions because they want to keep the momentum going. What was the biggest thing she learned during the contest?
"How much the community cares if you can engage them in the process," she said.
The shelter currently has about 20 full- and part-time staff and 100 volunteers. Between 5,000 and 6,000 animals come through the shelter each year. The adoption rate has improved from 50 percent to about 96 percent since Hutchinson came aboard a little over a year ago.
Katy Moeller: 377-6413